So you think you know who the best high school football players in America are? Chances are you probably do, but just in case names like Matt Barkley or Cierre Wood don’t mean much to you, here are five top prep players to keep an eye out for in 2008 and beyond.
QB Kevin Newsome, Chesapeake Western Branch (VA): Michigan
Michigan may have lost out on Terrelle Pryor in 2008, but the new look Wolverine offense figures to get a good one in 2009 with the recent commitment of Virginia quarterback Kevin Newsome. Newsome is an intriguing player because while the athleticism is certainly there, he’s not strictly an option quarterback, and displays very good arm strength and solid pocket fundamentals. While he may not be as explosive or shifty as Pat White he has deceptive straight line speed for his size (6’3, 217) and quick enough feet that defenders have a hard time getting a clear shot at him. Probably will need to adjust to spread option reads at the next level as well as improve his delivery and accuracy with short-midge range throws, but definitely has the physical skills to succeed in 2008 and beyond.
MLB Tom Wort, New Braunfels (TX): Oklahoma
Wort doesn’t just play like a Tomahawk missile, the guy literally is one. Originally hailing from across the pond in England, Wort is one of those kids who opposing players’ moms have nightmares about. That’s because he plays the game with nothing short of a violent and relentless intensity that shows itself in every tackle he makes. His highlight film has already been called the defensive equivalent of the infamous “McGuffie Mixtape,” and has become something of a minor internet sensation over the past several weeks. I know he’s a bit undersized at 6’1, 210, but he projects as an outside linebacker at the next level and could even play strong safety. A physical specimen in terms of speed, strength, and pure hitting ability, Wort’s high-intensity style of play should make him an instant fan favorite when he gets to Norman in 2009.
RB Brandon Wegher, Sioux City Heelan (IA): Undecided
One of the Midwest’s most explosive offensive players, Wegher is a complete back with the strength, speed, and vision that you love to see in a Division I prospect. The Iowa star currently holds scholarship offers from 16 different schools and is expected to narrow his list to five over the summer. As you can see from his highlight video, he shows great cutback ability and a fluid running style which allows him to navigate through the second level of defenses almost untouched. A legitimate sub 4.5/40 guy (Also runs a 10.8/100) Wegher has the ability to blow up defensive angles once he gets to the sideline, and has enough upper body strength and leg explosion to also run through tackles. One thing I love about Wegner is his combination of work ethic and natural athletic ability. Often times you’ll see a guy with one or the other, but rarely will you find a guy who is motivated enough to continually improve.
WR Andre DeBose, Sanford Seminole (FL): Undecided
A dynamic all-purpose athlete who has drawn comparisons to Percy Harvin, Debose is ridiculously smooth in the open field and makes opposing defensive players look like their running through jello. This kid is a pure athlete all the way and has exceptional straight line speed as well as good cutback ability and lateral quickness. He’s exceptionally versatile in that while he projects as a wide receiver on the college level he can be lined up at several positions. He reminds me a lot of Harvin as well as former Purdue wide receiver and return man Dorian Bryant. One drawback I may see in his game is that he’s far from polished as a pure wide receiver and will likely need to play in a spread style offense to make an immediate impact. Translation? Don’t go to Florida State.
DE Sam Montgomery Greenwood Greenwood (SC): Undecided
Montgomery is a really exciting prospect not just because he has the “measurables” which give him unlimited potential on the next level, but because he has displayed outstanding overall production at the prep level. At 6’5 he has ideal size coming out of high school at the defensive end position, and with a 4.65/40 time he boasts more than enough speed to make an immediate impact as a rush end once he gets to college. You’d like to see him attack the weight room a little harder his senior season, but you can’t argue with 20 sacks as a junior in 2007. The amazing part of it? 2007 was his first year playing football, which means with refining he should be able to put up monster numbers down the road.